Through conversations with my clients and, quite frankly, a look in the mirror, it’s tough to ignore the collective desire to limp over the 2020 finish line, turn the page and start anew with 2021.
But we can make sure this year doesn’t end on a complete emotional flop by sharing a bit of gratitude and some grace with our colleagues.
Here are four easy-to-do actions that will help you and everyone around you feel better about putting 2020 in the rearview mirror:
1. Embrace whole-person feedback.
Much of workplace feedback is task-related and behavioral. It’s a good thing because people should know what is expected and how they measure up. Metrics and deliverables matter. It’s also essential to layer on whole-person feedback, especially now.
Here’s why: Performance waxes and wanes. There are times when someone will give it their all, being as creative, collaborative and motivated as possible. They do everything right and still come up short because of the circumstances. Tying our self-worth too closely to what we do puts us at risk for losing who we are.
You can circumvent this trap by adding whole-person positive feedback to your conversations.
Here are some examples:
• “You always bring so much creativity to our team. I really appreciate that.”
• “You always have your teammate’s back.”
• “Your positive attitude makes people feel great.”
2. Send gratitude emails (early in the day).
If you’re feeling mentally drained, send five emails to people who you appreciate. They don’t have to be long. Just a sentence will do the trick. You will feel immediately better after a few minutes reflecting on who you are grateful for and you’ll be put back into that headspace throughout the day as you get responses.
Doing this early in the morning sets you up for a more emotionally-grounded day.
3. Partake in positive gossip.
Positive gossip means hyping people up behind their back and making sure there’s buzz about how great they are. It’s saying something like, “I had a meeting with so and so about marketing strategies for next year. She is so creative and nice, and I really like working with her.” If you had a great experience working with someone, tell other people. Better yet, tell their manager.
This scratches the itch to share our opinions and experiences of others with our friends without the negative repercussions of traditional (negative) gossiping.
4. Sing peer-to-peer praise.
The great thing about peer-to-peer feedback is that there is no motive. Your peers aren’t trying to suck up to you (like an employee to a boss) and they’re also not obliged to make sure you’re consistently getting feedback (like a boss to an employee).
If you see a peer rocking it or even managing to show up despite difficult circumstances, praise them for it. This creates a ripple of goodwill through the organization that crosses through many reporting lines and departments.
The world has been through the wringer. As tempting as it is to throw 2020 in the rearview mirror, acknowledging the hard work of your team (and yourself) can help you end the year with feelings of kindness and connectedness. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
– Lisa Earle McLeod is a leadership consultant and the author of several books. For more information on her company, visit McLeodandMore.com.